VIDEO: Young footballers 'devastated' after vandals smash club windows and break goal posts

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Vandals broke goal posts, damaged stalls and chairs and smashed windows at a children’s football club.

AFC Blackpool, on Jepson Way, has been the target of anti-social behaviour all summer, says club welfare officer Justin Singleton.

The goal posts were damaged by vandals

The goal posts were damaged by vandals

“A group has damaged the fence to the grounds and made their way in and made one of the stands their own little hang-out,” he said.

“We have had our junior teams turning up to train and being met by large groups of youths, and we have had to call the police a good couple of times.

“When everybody has gone home on the Saturday, somebody has sprayed graffiti on the clubhouse and smashed the windows.

“There’s evidence of drug use and smashed alcohol bottles, and some of the glass has been smashed on the pitch, which is a nightmare for our groundsman. It’s delayed re-seeding.

Obscene graffiti was sprayed on the walls

Obscene graffiti was sprayed on the walls

“We’ve always had a bit of vandalism, but nothing on this scale.”

Club committee members and parents spent all day on Sunday cleaning up the mess caused by the vandals.

New goal posts were shared by the Spirit of Youth Junior Football Club next door as a temporary replacement for the four that were damaged beyond repair.

Senga Gibson, whose 13-year-old son Taylor attends the under-14s team, said: “The kids are absolutely devastated because we have nothing to play with. They have trashed the goal posts and left smashed glass on the ground. They have ripped chairs up from the stalls.

Chairs were damaged and litter was dropped

Chairs were damaged and litter was dropped

“It’s a family-run club and always has been. We’re a close-knit group of people. It’s really quite worrying that we’re spending our own money as parents to help the club and things are just getting trashed.”

She said the club was now appealing for help to deter the vandals.

“Because we get no help from the Council, it’s very difficult,” she said. “We need to make it secure and we need CCTV. Something to keep the club going. It’s been there since 1940.”

Justin said: “This time of year it’s all hands on deck and we should be preparing the ground and getting the main pitch re-seeded, and we have not had the chance to do any of that. We’re picking up glass bottles, picking up drugs paraphernalia and fixing holes in fences.”

Can you help AFC Blackpool? Contact the club committee online at www.afcblackpool.org.uk.

Police said they were called to reports of criminal damage caused to goal posts and a small lockup at the club. Anyone with information should call 101 quoting LC-20190706-0660.